Haida Gwaii patients will have less travelling to do now that the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital has purchased a new diagnostic ultrasound machine.
Radiologists will be able to perform liver fibrosis assessments in Prince Rupert, rather than sending patients to Prince George or Terrace have the exam.
“Ultrasound exams are increasing about six to seven per cent per year so this new equipment is going to help us with that and meet the patient demand,” said Ken Winnig, regional director diagnostic services with Northern Health.
The equipment was purchased earlier this year with $72,500 from the Port of Prince Rupert, $25,000 from DP World and matching funding from Northern Health.
Northern Health radiologist John Dufton explained the benefits of the new machine: it’s cardiac-equipped and is able to do echocardiograms and scan people for muscular skeletal injuries.
“A very specific thing that this machine can do is looking at fibrosis within the liver, which means patients won’t need to get invasive biopsies that they would have had to get in the past. Those are just three things but there are many things that we’re expecting this machine is going to be able to do for us, which is amazing,” Dufton said.
Purchasing the new equipment was an upgrade, not a replacement, radiologist Susan Winther said.
Now that the hospital has this piece of equipment, Northern Health is sending another piece of equipment to the Haida Gwaii Hospital / Ngaaysdll Naay.
Winther said the move will allow the Haida Gwaii Hospital to re-instate ultrasound services it used to provide, but hasn’t been able to recently for lack of equipment.
The investment from the port and DP World will support about 4,000 ultrasound patients, Northern Health said in the press release. The machine is also expected to be available for educational services. Sonography students will be able to access the technology during their practical training.
Joe Rektor, the interim president and CEO of the Port of Prince Rupert, said he used the hospital’s ultrasound services seven months ago.
Funding from the port was through the Community Investment Fund, which has dedicated nearly $8 million to 60 community projects since 2010.